8 Mar 2013

Councils want constitutional recognition and federal funds

11:58 am on 8 March 2013

Councils in Australia are calling for a referendum to be held with the federal election in September to allow them to receive Commonwealth funding.

AAP reports a parliamentary committee has recommended holding a referendum on whether local government be recognised in the constitution.

The Australian Local Government Association said a referendum to alter the constitution, which will help councils gain funding, could be held in September with the federal election.

The association has been campaigning for a referendum for five years.

"Recognition in the constitution is needed to protect important funding for local projects and provide councils with the certainty that funding for local projects can continue without claims of constitutional invalidity," president Felicity-Ann Lewis said.

AAP reports the association also wants money from the federal government to support a campaign to convince people to vote in favour of constitutional recognition.

It wants Section 96 of the constitution to be amended to read:

"Parliament may grant financial assistance to any state or local government body formed by or under a law of state or territory on such terms and conditions as the parliament sees fit."